Monday, October 05, 2009

How I Save Money with Coupons - Part 1

I have been asked several time recently how I manage to find such great deals at grocery and drugstores. And the answer is always the same. I combine coupons with store sales to get the best deal possible. It isn't rocket science and it doesn't have to be scary. But it does take a small investment of time.

I'd been thinking about sharing my tips here for a while and then a few nights ago, I went to a class on how to use coupons. The teacher is obviously a mega-couponer with a few years experience and no babies or toddlers at home. But, in my opinion, she gave the class too much information considering most of the attendees were coupon novices. So, now, I want to share my ideas with my friends near and far so you can bring down your grocery budget without having to buy 200 boxes of cereal.

Today, I'll just share a few tips to get you started. Let me know if you have any questions.

First, and most obvious, buy a Sunday newspaper for the coupons. Actually, buy 2. The best way to turn a good sale into a great sale is to have 2 of every coupon. Most people don't know that if cereal is on sale B1G1 free, you can use 2 coupons. So if the cereal is normally $4.49/box and it is on sale for B1G1F, when you add 2 $1 off coupons, you can get your cereal for $1.25/box. That is a savings of $7.49!

Sure, you can get 10 papers and try to clip the same coupon 10 times, but how many of you are like me with small children and just don't have the time, space, or energy to organize 20 boxes of cereal when you come home from the grocery store?

Second, your coupons will do you no good if they just sit in a pile waiting to be forgotten. Now that you have 2 copies of all the coupons, you need a way to organize them. There are several ways to do this and each personality will prefer a different way. Personally, I don't have time to clip everything (you know, those 2 adorable girls take up a lot of time!), so I keep my coupon inserts whole and file them by date.

By date you might ask? How do you know the date for the coupon inserts? Well, if you look at the folded edge of the insert, you will see the date printed on it. I typically re-write it on the front of the insert to make flipping through my folder easier. Each week's coupons go into a clear page protector inside a 3-ring binder. Then, I only clip the coupons I need, as I need them. This saves me time and my sanity. Because seriously, I don't have a dog, and we won't be getting one any time soon.

And my final tip for the day, become familiar with the websites that match up the coupons and the sales for you. There are people out there on the world wide web who have a great mind for these things, so I say, let them do all of the hard work. They enjoy it, and it helps you save money. Don't waste your own time trying to figure out if you have a coupon in your binder for that bottle of V-8, just go to your favorite deal website and let them tell you what week or insert it came in.

So that you don't get overwhelmed with sites either, here are three my favorite websites/blogs for coupon/sale matchups:
Fiddledeedee! (She posts Publix matchups each week, but as a friend pointed out recently, does miss some deals)
I Heart Publix (lots of emphasis on rebates here as well and there is a lot of information not directly related to coupons, but still helpful for saving money)
Money Saving Mom (shares deals for CVS, Walgreens, Target, Kroger, Save-A-Lot, and lots of other stores so no one around the country is left out)

Do you have any specific questions? What do you want to know about becoming a couponer and better steward of your money?

1 comment:

  1. I'm a "couponer" myself! I love Money Saving Mom (this great friend in Fl told me about it!). We don't have a Publix or many of the other stores in the East (and a lot of sites cover stores from that region), so her site is a big help to me. I ad match at Wal-Mart, then use my coupons to save money. My best deals are at Walgreens b/c they let you combine sales, store coupons and manufacturer coupons. The also accept internet coupons. Gotta love that!

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